To be a creative in this world …
It’s one of the most DIFFICULT skills to try and build up as you age.
Think about your school days. (It’s even more difficult in the system now, thanks to STEM.) Your teachers had you draw silly little pictures, sing a few songs, and then get back to “real” work. Want to stretch your artistic wings? It’s a nice little hobby.
But the world would be a very boring place without creatives. Why haven’t we figured that out? Why haven’t we given more value to what creative work can inspire us to do and be? Until we build that back up in our world, well … We all know where we are today.
So you’ve always wanted to write. Or paint pictures. Or dance your way.
Where are you on your creative journey?
Chances are, as you read that, you had one thought in mind: I’m stuck.
Maybe you’ve pushed it aside, listened to all those nay-sayers around you who told you to “grow up” and join the real world. You can’t make money as a creative. Why bother. Why try.
You pushed her aside. Let her fall way deep down.
But it hurts, doesn’t it? You might not even be aware of just how much you miss her.
Yet you’re here. On some level, you know.
Think about a conversation you had with your mother/father/grandmother/teacher many years ago. Maybe it went something like this:
“I want to be a writer/artist/creative.”
“Writers/artists/creatives don’t make any money. You’ll be poor. You don’t want to be a starving artist, do you?”
Our loved ones and influencers have their hearts in the right place. They want what’s best for you.
But in most cases, these loving influencers had their own smack in the face when it came to deciding what to do, and they are relaying the advice they received to you.
How do I know this?
Think of a creative who makes lots of money. (Money should never be the goal. But at this point, we’re trying to prove your loved one wrong.) As a writer, I can use JK Rowling as an example. Nobody would argue her success.
One of the reasons you may be stuck is you’re relying too much on what other people think, and not diving deep into your own heart for your own truth. Stuckness often comes from incongruent behavior. You want something the people around you don’t. The question becomes: Do you follow your own heart, or stick with what other people tell you?
There’s another way we become stuck. It usually starts like this.
You love to write/paint/create. You even share it with those around you. And one day, it happens:
“You’re really good at this. You should write a book, sell your art, try this professionally.”
And then, whoa … You put on the brakes. All you can think is:
“Me?” Who am I? I’m not good enough. I don’t have enough talent. Everyone else is better than me.”
And on and on it goes.
Would you ever speak to a friend the way you talk internally to yourself? Few of us would. We criticize ourselves all day. Until we push the thought away of trying to break out and do what we love.
But now you’ve reached a point where you are questioning everything. Welcome to midlife. You’re turning a new leaf, opening up your mind to possibilities.
You have this inkling of hope. You might not be telling anyone about it. But it’s there.
You want MORE.
So glad you asked.
In order to move forward, to become unstuck, you have to recognize what’s going on inside of you. You have to become familiar with your inner voice, and change what she has to say.
I hear you. I know you’re thinking: “Oh, I know her well. She yells at me all the time.”
That’s the point. Hear her. Then change the way she thinks.
Think about moving forward as a creative. Write down what you say to yourself as you dream. Follow it up with what your inner voice tells you. It might go something like this.
“I’ve had an idea for a novel for years.”
“You? Who do you think you are?”
“I could do it. I’ve thought about the characters, the setting. I even have an idea for a great ending.”
“No you don’t. It would be stupid. Nobody would read it. People would laugh.”
“Ugh. Yep, you’re right.”
Sound familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. I would imagine JK Rowling still has those thoughts from time to time.
Now that you’ve written down a narrative that goes on inside your head, really think about your inner critic. Ask yourself these questions:
Have you thought this way before about other things in your life? What happened?
Are these thoughts helping or hurting me?
Could I talk to myself in another way? Would that serve me better?
What if I tried?
Who could I talk with to get stronger in my own inner belief?
What if I wrote anyway? What’s the worst that could happen?
What I believe about stuckness is it comes from dealing with ourselves.
The answer is deep inside. We know what to do. We know what will make us happy.
But all the crap from life gets in the way.
What is going to win: you … or the crap?
This is where journaling can help you find your path.
Let’s say you want to write a novel. Your inner voice is strong, telling you it would be stupid, nobody would read it, and people would laugh.
You’re stuck between what you believe about yourself, and your idea of what people would believe about you. That’s what you need to come to terms with.
And that’s where you start journaling.
What’s the best thing that would come out of me moving forward with my dream?
What if I succeeded?
Who do I know that would believe in me if I followed my dream?
Who would fight me? Is that relationship really serving me? What would happen if I let that relationship go?
How can I change my inner voice? Is there a way to change the narrative of what she says?
What can I do to get stronger in my creative spirit? Can I take a class? Study under an expert?
Being a creative is tough in this world. I know. I’ve been there too.
But if I can do it, you can too.
Take one step today. Let that be your guide to getting unstuck.